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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

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Foo Fighters’ sonic journey


The Foo Fighters are an American rock band from Seattle, Wash. that formed in the mid-90s, with their name coming from the term given to unidentified planes in World War II. Dave Grohl, guitarist/lead vocalist and 2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee, formed the band after leaving his position as drummer for Nirvana following the death of  lead singer Kurt Cobain.

The band’s current lineup consists of Grohl, Pat Smear (guitarist), Nate Mendel (bassist), Taylor Hawkins (drummer)and Chris Shiflett (guitarist).Their style revolves around a Nirvana-esque alternative rock sound with some heavy rock thrown in, as well as some acoustic ballads.

The Foo Fighter’s newest album,  Sonic Highway, is their eighth studio album,  was released  Nov. 10. The album has eight songs, each recorded in a different city. According to Grohl, each city influenced their writing process and the lyrics of each song, giving each a distinctive vibe. The number eight is symbolic: eight cities, eight songs and eighth album.

The band is also featured in an HBO series, Foo Fighters: Sonic Highway, in which the band discusses the production of the album and traveling across the United States. The album has four singles: “Something for Nothing,” “The Feast and the Famine,” “Congregation,” and “What Did I Do/God as my Witness,” which were released throughout October and early November.

The album features many guest artists throughout including Joe Walsh (Eagles), Zach Brown and Rich Nielsen (Cheap Trick), among many others. Each delivers their own style, which makes every song unique. Still, the Foo Fighters didn’t shy away from writing a true Foo Fighters album, including Grohl’s famous monster growl and loud, soaring guitars.

“Something from Nothing” features Rich Nielsen on baritone guitar. It starts off with a psychedelic sound and then transitions into a hard rock song by the end.  It was recorded in Chicago and is based on the Chicago music scene.

“The Feast and the Famine” was recorded in Arlington, Va., and is based on nearby Washington D.C.’s hardcore punk rock scene. Pete Stahl and Skeeter Thompson (both from D.C. punk rock band Scream) are guest vocalists.

“Congregation”  was recorded in Nashville, Tenn., the capital of music.  It features Zach Brown on vocals and is based on the musical history of Nashville.

“What Did I Do?/God as my Witness” was recorded in Austin, Texas.  It features Gary Clark, Jr., a popular blues, jazz, country, hip-hop and rock guitarist in the Austin area. The song is made up of two parts; “What did I Do?” is upbeat and heavy, while “God as my Witness” is a heavy ballad featuring an overlapping of loud backing instruments, several vocal lines and guitar solos.

Other songs include “Outside,” “In the Clear,” “Subterranean” and “I Am a River,” recorded in Los Angeles, New Orleans, Seattle and New York City, respectively.

The album has received mixed reviews. Some say it’s a classic Foo Fighters album, while other claim it’s subpar. Metacritic gave the album a 68/100, and Rolling Stone gave it 3.5/5 stars, claiming it to be a great companion for the HBO series.

The album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, and has currently sold over 100,000 copies. It has a classic Foo Fighter’s alternative rock vibe, plus something more: it’s infused with the many different sounds, cultures and artists of each city they visited.

(photo via)

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Foo Fighters’ sonic journey